<span style="font-size: 1rem;">I had hoped to take advantage of Facebook and livestream this as a video. Unfortunately finding a quiet, suitable spot in a very busy household has proved to be most challenging!</span>
The current crisis facing our nation seems to change and worsen each day. And yet our church values remain the same:
Knowing we are God’s beloved
Knowing our calling to become more like Jesus
Knowing our calling to build His church
Knowing our calling to be a blessing in God’s world
Our values remain the same, but the way we enact them, the way we live them out on a day to day basis, of course has had to change.
In recent months we have sought to become more like Jesus and to be a blessing in His world (in our own small corner here in Stannington); by working alongside our brothers and sisters at Stanwood Methodist Church and from across the wider community through the work of the Stannington Foodbank.
The current (necessary) restrictions on movement have had a significant impact on the work of the foodbank at a time when demand has spiked and we are looking to deliver food/welfare parcels to those who are over 70 or in one of the vulnerable health categories.
Many people have stepped forward from across the community in the past fortnight to offer their services as volunteers. Others have donated food/toiletries/cash. At a time of national crisis, it has been most heart-warming to observe our local community rallying together to support the most vulnerable members of our society.
Many people have asked me how they can best support the work of the foodbank at this critical time.
In order to maintain strict social distancing measures at the foodbank, we don’t (currently) need any more volunteers at the Monday sessions at Stanwood. There simply isn’t enough space in the vestry/foyer area for any more than 3 volunteers to work safely and effectively. We may in the near future need assistance with delivering food/welfare parcels across Stannington (and surrounding areas), but we are not there yet.
You can get involved in the following ways:
Please pray for Jane Wall and Joe Cooper – as “employees” of the Church we are designated ‘key-workers’. As co-managers of the foodbank (an essential service) we are permitted to leave our homes to undertake key foodbank duties. Please pray that our health holds. Please also pray for the continued provision of food donations in the weeks and months ahead.
We need donations of food now more than ever. All of us are in contact with a wider network of people: family, friends, work colleagues etc. Please consider reaching out to your contacts through Facebook, Twitter, email… and ask your network of contacts if they might be able to help support the work of the foodbank at this time. A single tin of beans will provide a meal. The foodbank has its own Facebook Page ‘Stannington Foodbank’ with a regularly updated list of items we are running low on. At this time, you can’t take the food to a designated drop-off point, but you can contact me (Joe 07340280460 or [email protected]) and I will arrange for the donation to be collected directly from you/the donor – provided the donor doesn’t live in New Zealand of course!
Cash donations can also be made but are less preferable to physical donations of food/toiletries. The strict rationing limits imposed by the supermarkets are not being waived for foodbanks at this time, which results in several trips to different supermarkets or multiple visits over several days. All of this increases the chances of being exposed to Coronavirus at a time when we are attempting to restrict our movement. We hope to have a ‘Just-Giving’ page (or equivalent) in place soon, so keep an eye on the foodbank Facebook Page.
Let us know if you, a neighbour, a family member etc, is in need of a food/welfare parcel. This is for anyone who is socially isolating and in need of a few essentials to keep them going. We will deliver a parcel directly to the door. A donation for the food parcel would be accepted but of course is not mandatory.
One of my favourite Bible readings is the exchange between Jesus and Peter at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:15-17):
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Now re-read the passage but replace Peter’s name with your own:
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Joe, “Joe, son of Ian, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Joe, son of Ian, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Joe, son of Ian, do you love me?” Joe was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep”.
Let us do all within our power to heed the words of Jesus and feed the sheep of His parish here in Stannington at this critical time.
Revd Joe Cooper – 25.03.20